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Designing One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower)


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2003 Plan for Freedom Tower (1 World Trade Center)
Early Revision for Freedom Tower, as presented in December 2003

Early Revision for Freedom Tower, as presented in December 2003

Illustration by dbox, inc. via Getty Images
Skyscraper architect David M. Childs worked with Daniel Libeskind on plans for Freedom Tower for nearly a year. According to most reports, the partnership was stormy. However, by December 2003 they had developed a design that combined Libeskind's vision with ideas that Childs wanted.

The 2003 design retained Libeskind's symbolism: Freedom Tower would rise 1,776 feet. The spire would set off center, like the torch on the Statue of Liberty. However, the upper portion of the skyscraper is transformed. A 400-foot high open air shaft would house windmills and power turbines. Cables, suggesting the supports on the Brooklyn Bridge, would wrap around the exposed upper floors. Below this area, Freedom Tower would twist, forming a 1,100-foot spiral. Childs believed that twisting the tower would help channel wind upward toward the power generators.

Reviews were mixed. Some critics believed the 2003 revision captured the essence of the original vision. Others said that the air shaft and web of cables gave Freedom Tower an unfinished, skeletal appearance.

Dignitaries laid a cornerstone for Freedom Tower in 2004, but construction stalled as New York police raised safety concerns. They worried about the mostly-glass facade, and also said that the proposed location of the skyscraper made it an easy target for car and truck bombings.

Next: 2005 Plan for Freedom Tower

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